Real-Time Evaluation of ADB’s Safeguard Implementation Experience Based on Selected Case Studies

Evaluation Document | 23 November 2016

This evaluation examines the value added by the environmental and involuntary resettlement safeguards policies of ADB, and identifies what remains to be done to ensure their effective application. The evaluation uses a case study approach to assess the application of ADB’s safeguards in 12 projects in three countries, Indonesia, Kyrgyz Republic and Sri Lanka. These countries were considered to be around the median in terms of the environmental and involuntary resettlement sensitivity of their roads, energy and water projects.

The evaluation shows that while ADB’s safeguard framework is seen as a benchmark there are areas that need strengthening in matters of design and especially implementation. It indicates both the progress and remaining gaps in both country safeguard systems and implementation of the safeguard policy for application to ADB-supported projects. A seminal benefits-cost analysis (BCA) concludes that safeguards implementation creates a positive net value, which tends to be higher for ADB’s standards. The evaluation specifies that strong caution must continue to be exercised in moving to the use of country safeguard systems for ADB supported projects. An assessment of Indonesia’s safeguard system shows that concerning involuntary resettlement, there are legal and regulatory differences with the ADB policy and these need to be addressed. Further, in all countries visited there were gaps in local implementation capacities within the relevant agencies. At the same time, the evaluation points out that ADB’s program to promote the use of country safeguard systems in ADB supported projects should be more strategic and systematic, as indicated by the Safeguard Policy Statement (2009).